Martin Luther King and What Matters

Today is Martin Luther King Day, and those south of the border have the day off to reflect on the influence the civil rights leader had on the world we live in today. Although it is not a holiday here in Canada, I believe it is still important to acknowledge and reflect upon his efforts.

As a black female in my late 20s, I think it’s important to recognize the progress King made and how far we still have to go.

This weekend I saw Selma and I could not help but sob the entire time. I could not stop the tears from running down my face while my neighbour sat visibly unmoved. It took me a while to understand why I was so upset. And then it dawned on me: so much of what King said in the 1960s is applicable to what I am reading in the news five decades later. When I can draw so many parallels from then to now, it’s hard to be optimistic.

Sadly, the omission of Oscar nominations for David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay is what’s ruling the headlines. I do feel that these incredibly talented people deserve the recognition but considering the message of the film – and what Martin Luther King spent his life preaching – we should move on.

I am sure Oprah did not produce Selma to talk about trophies. She produced this film to educate.

When it comes down to it, we don’t need the Oscars – a money-driven awards shows – to dictate what is worth our time. After watching Selma this weekend and seeing a resemblance to what recently happened in Ferguson, I feel the need to remind everyone that we have bigger fish to fry.

Let’s not let award season pull focus from the much-needed dialogue and the fact that in 2015, we still require the reminder that “Black Lives Matter.” I suggest we use this day to remember what Martin Luther King stood for and how significant his words still are.